10 ways to write blog post titles & email subject lines that make people go, “whoa!”


10 ways to structure blog post titles, book chapter titles, article headlines, email subject lines for your newsletters & any other short bits of text that need to grip attention, quickly.

1. Make it THE BEST.

Ever wonder why your favorite blogs & magazines are riddled with “Best Of” lists? It’s because… people like them!

Words and phrases like “favorite”, “biggest”, “newest”, “ultimate”, “infinite”, “top picks”, “absolute”, “can’t live without”, “of all time” and “… ever” can all signify this kind of BEST-ness.

A few examples:

: My favorite writing music [sexy, mellow, a hint of electronica]

: 10 of the best first date questions … possibly ever.

: The ultimate guide to naming your “thing.”

: Infinite reasons to be happy & hopeful: the longest love-list that ever lived.

: My [new] favorite tools for writing, creativity, productivity & whatnot.


Sexy. Mysterious. Intentionally vague. Or just… surprising!

Use a provocative statement as your title, and your reader will immediately wonder, “Hmmm… what does she mean by that? I’ve got to read and find out!”

A few examples:

: You already know everything.

: Everything is marketing.

: Don’t leave before the miracle happens.

: THIS is what’s possible.

: Be the one who says “Yes”.


I love using questions as titles, especially when I’m writing a piece that’s intended to spark conversation or self-reflection.

A few examples:

: What is a “good writer,” anyway?

: What would Love do?

: Is your “Internet Penis” too small?

: Who is living your dream?

4. Make a LIST.

Oh, the Internet loves a good, long list.

And if your blog post or article is, in fact, a list… well, it’s pretty darn easy to come up with a title.

A few examples:

: 100 questions to inspire rapid self-discovery (and spark your next talk, date, blog post or book.)

: 10 mini love notes from Valentine’s Day.

: 35 things you can do instead of starting a blog.

: 50 ways to say “You’re Awesome.” (So popular, it led to a book deal!)

: 30 mantras for people who over-work, over-commit and are generally terrified of “missing out”.

5. Offer a HOW TO.

Personally, I’m a very “instructional” kind of writer. Pretty much everything I write is intended to solve a problem, offer an exciting idea, or teach a lesson. (Well… maybe not my erotic fiction stories. On the other hand, they do offer some “exciting ideas”… ;)

Hence: you’ll find a lot of “how to” posts here on this site. People love ’em. And… just like with lists, they’re pretty easy to title!

A few examples:

: How to say NO to everything, ever.

: How to write a ridiculously sexy (but totally classy) note to your sweetheart.

: How to survive when everything sucks.

Using the “how to” format doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to use the words “how” and “to”.

Words like “lessons”, “guidelines”, “insights”, and “tips” can convey the same helpful, instructional tone.

For example:

: 7 guidelines for writing emails that people actually want to read.

You can also include an “OMG! NOW WHAT?!” statement, followed by a “how to” statement.

For example:

: ZOMG! You’ve got a video interview in ten minutes time. Here’s how to nail your message, feel great & SHINE.


I get completely riled up & excited whenever someone I admire offers a “backstage tour” into their not-so-public world.

Using words & phrases like “backstage tour”, “sneak peek”, “inside glimpse”, “secret trip”, “virtual tour”, “what’s inside”, “behind the curtain” and “how I really do it” can all convey this sense of voyeuristic delight.

For example:

A backstage tour of my business.

(Note to self: do more backstage tour-style posts, in the future!)


I love using phrases like “Read this when” or “Open this when.”

It immediately helps the reader decide if this particular piece of writing is going to “speak” to them, right now, or not.

A few examples:

: Read this when you can’t remember who you are, what you do, why you do it — or how to talk about it.

: Read this when you’re feeling unwanted & rejected. (You’re not. This will help.)

You can also invert this formula, and try something like…

Warning: Do not read this if you enjoy clinging to excuses that prevent you from making art, moving forward & doing wonderful things.


Got a problem? Here’s a potential solution. Yep. Pretty much sums it up.

This is another great way to help your reader decide, “Is reading this piece worth my time, or not?”

A few examples:

: Don’t know what to write in your online dating profile? Try this.

: Tired of waiting? Great. Start creating.

: Got a nude photo shoot coming up? (Who doesn’t?) My tips on how to feel brave, strong & sexy.

: Don’t know what to blog about? 88 pieces of fill-in-the-blank inspiration.

: Downsizing your joy? Stop that. Let us be happy for you.

: Want to be famous, successful, booked ’til forever? Operate like the world is already listening.


Pull a quote from your finished blog post, article, chapter or whatnot. Perhaps the final, closing words. Or another phrase that sums up the “spirit” of the piece.

Plop that “quote” into your title… followed by a few more words to clarify what the piece is about. Boom.

A few examples:

: “If all else fails…” 10 of the BEST possible worst case scenarios.

: “Fortunately, it is not required for happiness.” 7 words to re-focus your mind on what matters.

: “I’m not that busy. Really.” Dispelling the myth of success & busy-ness.

: “If you really knew me, you’d know…” The ultimate conversation starter & story-sparker.

: “So … yeah. Things have changed.” How to break a commitment without ruining anyone’s life (or your reputation).


You did something cool. You learned a valuable lesson. Now you want to share it. The title practically writes itself!

A few examples:

: I spent an hour with a publicity powerhouse! Here’s what I learned about getting big-time media coverage…

: I spent an hour with “The Oprah Whisperer!” Here’s what I learned about telling a soundbite-sized story…

: What a real-life ninja taught me about devotion & mastery.


Here are a couple of smart ideas & resources that I’ve discovered:

: The all-time most popular posts from 21 wonderful websites from Mental Floss.

: How to write magnetic headlines from Copyblogger.

: How to craft post titles that draw people into your blog from ProBlogger.

: How to write great book titles from Lulu.

: Best practices for email subject lines from MailChimp. (They analyzed 200 million emails to see what works & what doesn’t.)

: The Blogcademy. Excellent training for amateur bloggers who want to “go pro.” (They have an online academy now, too.)

: The Signature Sound Bite class. If you rrrreeeally struggle to consolidate your ideas into simple, snappy, memorable phrases, this class is for you. It was developed by Susan Harrow, a 25-year publicity industry veteran. Get a free taste here.

: Everything from Melissa Cassera. She’s another publicity industry veteran who has tons of fresh, simple ideas about what it takes to get people OBSESSED with your writing & blogging.



Yes, it’s true. There are certain words, phrases & sentence structures that are highly likely to make people respond in the way that you want.

(It’s been studied and proven.)


You do not have to adopt the “best practices” that the “experts” (including me!) reveal and recommend.

You can do whatever feels right in your “hut” (heart and gut).

Title every blog post you write with an obscure song lyric.

Record an album with a symbol for a name.

Change your legal name to “Hashtag”.

Write a book with no title.

Whatever you want.

Art has no rules.